Frequently Asked Questions
A few of our most commonly asked questions at your fingertips.
01 What Is A PMA?
A PMA is a Private Membership Association. The various types of private associations operate in a manner as to keep private business and private activities a private contractual matter between the association and the members. Keep in mind that law says "no state can pass any law that impairs the obligation of contract". The association is founded upon the principle that we have an unalienable right to associate. The Supreme Court has always held that the right to associate is synonymous with the right to assemble. An association is simply a group of men and women collectively exercising their right to associate in private.
02 Are there Different Kinds of PMAs?
Private Associations are commonly known as Private Membership Association, Private Education Association, Private Health Association, Private Ministerial Association (Faith based organization or FBO), Private Drinking Club, Private Social Club, Private Fraternal Organization, Home Owner Association, and others. Regardless of the style of private association, they are all forms of a PMA since you technically don't have an association without members to associate anyway.
03 What are Some Examples of A Private Association and the Protections?
Examples may be, Drinking is allowed inside “private clubs” in “dry counties” in states of The united States of America where the sale of alcohol to the public is restricted or illegal; smoking is allowed inside “cigar bars” or "private clubs" in states having public laws prohibiting smoking in government buildings and in buildings open to the public; What may be illegal activity under statutes or public law are completely lawful activities in private. Those private venues have the same protections as private activities within your own home and those activities are governed by your own rules, not public law.
Membership is restricted and only private rules apply inside private golf, baseball, football, soccer and other sports clubs; Men’s, Women’s, Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs; the Cub, Brownie, Boy and Girl Scouts of America; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.); the American Medical Association; and, even the state and national BAR Associations, all of which are various forms of a PMA, and they generally follow only their own rules (bylaws).
04 Do All Private Associations Enjoy the Same Protections?
The short answer is No. All of the protections your association has the ability to invoke will be determined by your founding documents and likewise, all of the protections that are waived or surrendered, either knowingly or unknowingly will be determined within your founding documents. Documents that are not properly drafted, such as statutory compliant documents, will forfeit some or all of your private domain protections. Unfortunately most associations are founded as "statutory compliant" all because of what the founders of the association didn't know at the time the association was formed. There is no more important decision you'll make than the preparation of your founding documents. That is where you will secure or give up your protections of the private domain.
05 Is there a Limit To The Protections of My Private Associations Activity?
Yes, there is a limit to the protections however it's pretty extreme. In the wording of the courts; an association must be engaged in activity that creates a clear and present danger of a substantial evil before the state can obtain jurisdiction to interfere with the activities of the association.
Fortunately, The State does not get to arbitrarily decide what constitutes a substantial evil. That test has been in place in the courts for over 150 years. Basically, If your properly founded association is not engaging in activities that create an immediate threat of serious harm or death to people then the activities do not constitute a "clear and present danger of a substantial evil". To sum it up, don't follow the lead of Jim Jones and try to get your members to drink the grape Kool-Aid and you'll have nothing to worry about.